Fourth in my series of posts coming out of my interview with Michael O’Connell of Pegasus at WTM (Senior Director – Global Partnership Development).
The last area we talked about was chain hotels and Best Available Rate (BAR). The background to this is easy and quick – ever since the rise of the merchant model, hotels (especially chains) have been trying to use best available rate guarantees as a tools for driving consumers to hotel direct sites as opposed to online intermediaries. This has been to the benefit of Pegasus as chains with central rate control have been insisting that intermediaries access inventory through a Pegasus or similar direct connect link rather than via direct to property discussions. But it has also been a challenge for both chains and intermediaries as not all of the properties adhere to the chain rate rules – especially in the case of consortia and brand groups (such as the Pegasus owned Utell).
My question to Michael was a short but direct one – “What role should Pegasus play in helping to secure true BAR from chains – especially those consortia that do not have full brand control?”. His reply “Pegasus is about bringing the two [chain and intermediary] together. We are not structured to get the rates from hotel (ie “a Pegasus rate”). This is always a discussion with the hotel. We don’t control the commercials between the hotel/chain and distribution.”
This answer is to be expected. Pegasus is a connectivity mechanism not an operator. However the success of BAR push of the hotel chains is dependent on the chains ability to enforce it at the property level - something that is not being achieved at at level that co-operative intermediaries need. This is not Pegasus' problem to fix it is one of the chains, consortia and intermediaries to work on. Pegs for now can sit back and enjoy the boost in bookings from the chains BAR push.